Isis Monteverde: Exploring Balinese Culture

Isis Monteverde has worked as a life coach for 20 years. Prior to embarking on her current career she was a yoga teacher, having completed her yoga teacher training in Bali. This article will provide an overview of some of the most important aspects of Balinese culture, exploring the different ways that visitors can gain a glimpse of local life and Balinese traditions.

From local flea markets to ancient temples and age-old rituals, the island of Bali boasts much to entertain visitors of all ages, whether they seek to delve deeper into Bali’s rich history and fascinating values and beliefs or learn about local art and cuisine.

Bali is home to numerous different temples, many of which are iconic island landmarks that have stood for hundreds of years, offsetting their stunning exotic backdrops. Indeed, it seems that on Bali there is a temple on every street corner, with some standout examples providing an authentic taste of the island’s dedication to the Hindu Gods.

Tanah Lot Temple is a must-see for tourists due to its picture-perfect offshore location. On the holy day of Kuningan, pilgrims travel to this temple from across the island and beyond to pray and lay offerings.

Food is integral to Balinese culture, and visitors can taste authentic Balinese cuisine at a variety of different venues. Indeed, today’s tourists can embark on a culinary adventure, with an experienced guide accompanying them to local markets to source traditional spices, herbs and locally sourced ingredients before demonstrating the often lengthy preparation methods involved in cooking traditional Balinese dishes.

Meanwhile, for nature lovers, a dawn hike up Mount Batur, Bali’s majestic active volcano, is an unforgettable experience, providing breathtaking views across the island’s iconic landscapes at sunrise.

To the Balinese, dance is an expression of art with deeply religious connotations and a means of connecting with the gods. Dance heritage is passed from one generation to the next, with small children attending lessons to acquire their dance skills. There are a variety of traditional Balinese dances, each telling a different story. Legong is a particularly stunning display, performed by young girls dressed in gowns and gold accessories.

Water cleansing rituals are deeply significant in Balinese Hindu culture, with local people regularly visiting sites like Tirta Empul, particularly during celebrations, to perform rituals to cleanse negative elements from their soul. At the island’s cultural capital, Ubud, tourists can experience cleansing rituals for themselves, helping them to gain inspiration and energy for their daily lives.